Monday, December 15, 2014


It's no secret I love Ikea. Okay, maybe I am mildly obsessed. On a recent trip to Ikea I noticed this Norrlida frame and immediately thought of several uses for it and at $9.99 I snatched it up. I thought it would make a cool tray but decided the perfect use would be a chalkboard over my bar cart. I took it apart and painted the backboard with chalkboard paint. When I put it back together I just put the glass behind the backboard so it would have the same thickness. Tim did need to add a wire hanger to the back. I do believe there might have been some inhaled chalk dust in the process, but I am really liking having it above the bar cart. After the holidays I'll use it for drink recipes or menus.


The shelves came from Target and bar cart is from Crate and Barrel. All ready for the holidays!

More Ikea hacks and love coming soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Awhile back I posted about the making of MR BIG SHOT, a mixed media painting of my father-in-law when he was a young whipper snapper here and here. Well, he got accepted into the Summation 2014 juried show at the Escondido Municipal Gallery and received an Honorable Mention. It was one year ago that I entered my first art exhibit and the director of the gallery purchased New York, New York. I just have to smile a little.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014



Please excuse the metaphor, but we just gave birth to a beautiful, brand spankin new kitchen. And boy are we proud..and exhausted. I was so over the plastic drop cloths on the furniture, layers of construction dust and tripping over tools I was pushing for a finish date of Thanksgiving. It's 95% complete and the last few days we find ourselves just staring in amazement at the results of our many months of DIY hard labor. We've been taking a boatload of photos, grinning ear to ear and rubbing our sore muscles.

There were many times I wondered if this would ever become a reality. I have shared a little along the way about this fixer-upper we purchased three and a half years ago. We spent the first couple years mostly repairing and dealing with the more serious issues. Lots of scrubbing, painting, tearing out and replacing HERE and HERE and much more I haven't shared. But the kitchen was by far the biggest eyesore. The previous owners slapped lots of lipstick on this pig to no avail. And lest you think I exaggerate; here's what happens when the seller slaps latex paint over oil. Looks okay until you wash it and the paint rolls off. 

The wood cabinets and pretty much every other surface was also painted using latex paint with the same results, but with the added touch of dog and human hair mixed in. I'm sparing you those images. You're welcome.

The counters and floors had ugly beige/brown 70's tile with dark, thick grout that looked dirty no matter how much bleach was used: 

tile changes between kitchen and breakfast room
chips in tile
Not grossed out yet? No problem. Take a gander under the drop-in cooktop. We had to take it apart and fix some burners just to use it. 

cooktop grime
Same with all the appliances. The refrigerator melted the ice and froze the fruits and veggies. The oven door was so filthy it didn't even shut. The sink had never been caulked and sealed, so when we turned the disposal on the sink shook violently. Some of the kitchen knobs were stuck onto the drawers only by the paint, no screws, so they came off in your hand. 

inside drawers
The kitchen drawers; I promise that is as clean as I could get them. By now you get the idea. As an interior designer who loves to entertain I dreamt of a remodel. I planned, researched, saved my pennies and collected ideas on my Pinterest Board, just waiting for the day we could pull it off.  


Lighting isn't the best and I took these with my cell phone. I'll be sharing much more in upcoming posts, as I share what materials I selected and some DIY's. But I was just so excited to finally show you what McGyver and I have been up to. We were literally putting finishing touches Thanksgiving Day and had guests for dinner. A huge accomplishment and it felt so good and rewarding.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Okay, first of all, I FINALLY changed the blog header. I haven't done that in so long the rules for size changed and after trying like a dozen times it finally worked but is, um, huge. Too bad. I'm so over it.

Windsor & Newton Cotman Watercolours

Lately, I don't stop long enough to post what I'm doing. With the kitchen remodel I forget and lately have been painting walls and trim. But I MUST show you this adorable itsy bitsy watercolor set I gifted myself. I shared it on Facebook and Instagram already but I love it so much I'm posting it here. It fits in a small purse and travels with me. Just need a little water and a napkin. Okay, kinda sounds like a substitute for a cute little puppy. BY GOLLY, I think it is. 

Look at the cute brush. I did buy that wonderful hot pink separately, just cuz I love the brilliance. Sure beats that Prang set I've had most of my life.

I recently painted this bouquet while on a flight and during delays at the airport. It was a bumpy ride and I had to keep grabbing my water so it didn't spill, but boy did the time pass quickly. I can take a pic on my phone then paint it. Stop the madness!

I took a pic of my daughter's shoes during a visit, came back home and painted them as a gift for her hospitality (and amazing style).

My friend's bird, Bella
I'm liking this watercolor stuff, a lot! After years of thinking it would be hard, I am looking forward to learning what else I can do. I'm thinking of offering some commissions after the kitchen is complete. Any interest?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


ALMOST HOME 24X30 acrylic on canvas
Another larger painting based on my Plane View series has experienced a great deal of transformation, evolution and is at last possibly complete. I tried taking a few photos with my cell phone this evening. Don't know why but each one I took is lacking in clarity and color so I took a couple close-ups to show better color, texture and detail. I must admit I am loving the close-ups which got my creative wheels spinning. 

For those that know me, as much as I love, love, love abstract art my brain revolts each and every time I make an attempt. Experimenting, permission to play and trying new things is a rewarding process. It reminds me of our kids repeating over and over as we barely left the driveway, "Are we there yet?" We tried to point out the beauty and new experiences along the way, but they only had the end in mind. Wisdom and experience says enjoy each step along the journey. 

I am on a journey of sorts with my Plane View studies. While others choose to read or snooze on flights I prefer to sketch little studies from my window seat. I recently made 4 of my Plane View pieces available as prints in my Etsy Shop

PLANE VIEW #4, 11, 12

Monday, October 13, 2014


We have been working so hard on our endless kitchen remodel that we barely ever come up for air. We do show up for scheduled meetings and commitments, but that's about it. However, Saturday we were invited to take a break, and while we were buried in kitchen chaos we are so very glad we said yes. Spent an amazingly perfect day and evening on The Great Escape, a beautiful carver boat owned by the generous Adams family. We spent the afternoon enjoying the Coronado sights, dinner at Peohe's and incredible waterscape reflections once the night set in. Just what the doctor ordered. I took plenty of photo's for my visual fix and future paintings. I posted several fun photos on my Facebook page. But here I'm posting a few inspirational ones that got my creative juices flowing.

FAVE!!! must experiment with blurred lights on water with paint.HELLO!!
Another potential; I envision a semi-abstract? This one is very grainy from zooming in to get the shot I wanted, but that shouldn't stop me, right? Right.

Now, back to reality. We made tremendous strides on the kitchen this weekend, despite our much needed Escape. I think we are now far enough along now to not snooze you to death with info and images. Promises to share valuable tips for those who love DIY or learn enough to hire an expert. Hold on another day or two; as my Photoshop crashes every time I try to do a reveal. War on!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


COMING UP ROSES 2  6x6 acrylic on board


Between gutting the kitchen and working on some paintings I keep forgetting to post on my blog. Oops. I manage to do much better with Facebook, Instagram, Etsy and occasionally Twitter. Those venues take little effort but result in comments and human interaction which is so critical for someone who works alone. Now-a-days the only comments I get on my blog are spam. So I forget. Everyone wants quick results; including me. 

So my goal was to go mixed media abstract florals here. Okay, so once again my hand does not cooperate with my mind, or is it the other way around? But, I am still good. I learn and grow with every stroke.

I have been adding these smaller pieces as prints onto my Etsy shop. I am accumulating the originals for now, but if you are interested in an original just email me or leave a comment. xo

Friday, September 5, 2014


Meet Dominic and Josephine. My great grandparents who came over on the boat from Italy and never learned English. They had 7 children and Josephine used unique disciplinary methods that included swatting the back of the head with a broom when you weren't looking. That was much better than kneeling on hard lima beans until they indented the knees. 

Dominic spent his entire waking hour in a squeaky rocking chair smoking a pipe and spitting in a coffee can called a spittoon. Sometimes he knocked it over with the rocking chair. Then I got to hear lots of interesting Italian phrases, that if I repeated I got my mouth washed out with lye soap. 

Oh, and the walls were decorated with genuine contact paper. When they ran out, they'd continue with a totally different pattern.

Even though Dominic had the look of a dictator, Josephine clearly was the scarier one. You think those are flips on her head, do you? That's why I thought this old photo was so unusually charming. So much so, that I decided to immortalize this tender moment. Oh, and yes I have many other such interesting characters from my past. What? Don't we all?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I LOVE this fragrance from Kate Spade. Okay, I admit there's hardly anything I Don't like from KS, but this is a triple winner. People frequently ask what fragrance I'm wearing, this bottle is gorgeous and the name is my daily mantra. LIVE COLOR FULLY. Yes I Will. I painted my daughter a watercolor for her aqua and pink studio office, but not before I turned it into a print for my Etsy Shop. Available in two sizes.

And speaking of living color fully, we were just in Indianapolis for 5 days. BTW; we saw more rain in that time than we have experienced in the 3 years here in San Diego. Seriously. Oh, and the lightning dancing sideways across the sky and claps of thunder that made you flinch. We soaked it all in. Got to use an umbrella and run for shelter like in the olden days. I digress. We met our dear friends, the Telfords for dinner at Rick's Boatyard, our old stomping ground. I took about 2 dozen photos of the amazing sunset as it changed colors numerous times as it went down.  We sailed here so many times over the years and Jennifer's rehearsal dinner was atop Rick's with an equally beautiful sunset that night several years ago. Here is just one snapshot. Thank you God for this rich display that I'd like to think was meant just for me. 

And finally, we got to hug, kiss on and celebrate our grandson turning 12. I have no idea how this is possible. What an absolutely loveable nut!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Our visit to Paso Robles was so visually inspiring and the booster shot I so needed. Tim and I drove the beautiful countrysides, stopping and taking photos, like hundreds of photos along the way. One of our stops was a hillside with cows grazing. Once they spotted us they all headed down the hill and right up to us, all lined up in a row, getting so close we had to back up. Curious cows has new meaning for this city raised gal. I just love how they hang out. One leans over and decides to clean another cow's ear. Or they just kinda stare and you wonder what they are thinking about…if anything. 

I'M MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE  6x6 acrylic on canvas

This is now available as a fine art print in my Etsy shop in two sizes. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Here are a couple of my recent additions to my farm animal menagerie. The original paintings are acrylic on birch cradle boards with a deep 1.5" profile. 


I have adjusted the colors on the above image 5 or 6 times. Color looks perfect in Photoshop but for some reason it turns out brighter once I post it here. I give up. Below are prints that I've added to my Etsy shop over the weekend. On my screen the prints are the correct colors. Anyway, probably the first pieces that work great in a baby nursery, don't you think?

EWENICE AND LAMBERT prints available in 2 sizes
In the meantime the kitchen remodel is in full swing. Our house resembles some indescribable disaster with old cabinets and all their contents in various rooms, even outside, with boxes of new cabinets intermixed. The kitchen openings are tented with plastic so to go find, say a ziplock bag, I walk all the way around the house and back when I can just about see the box through the plastic. I am trying to embrace the process but cannot wait to be on the other end of this and merely open a drawer to grab a ziplock. xo

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Back in November I began a mixed media painting and thought it was about time I put the finishing touches on it. Let me take you back to the layers and process. First, I chose a photo of my father-in-law's childhood that makes me smile, especially knowing him as an adult. That rifle has to be twice as tall as Paul. I'm guessing he's about three years old here and living on a farm in Texas. With no siblings or anyone closely, his friends were the animals. He had two cows Pete and Repeat. I made copies of various ephemera, like the notes written on the back of photos, maps, rifle targets, pages from his childhood books and anything relating to his life on the farm in the 1920's. I applied the layers onto a 12"x30" x 2.25"d canvas as the foundation.

Even though it was close to completion, I set it aside to move onto the holidays and then other paintings. Lately I am in the mood to finish up. So here you go!
The full piece is on left and a couple closeup shots on the right. Hope he's smiling.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


This is one of several paintings I had in a stack of unfinished pieces. Someone noticed it in one of my Facebook photos of my studio and claimed it. How cool is that? However, this will be available as a print in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


We halted gutting and remodeling our kitchen to focus our creativity on our church's annual Marriage Retreat. Marriage is Like a Roller Coaster had my mind rolling on how to maximize this theme. Tim and I went all out on the photo booth. I mean ALL OUT. 

My husband made the process so entertaining. One morning I walked past the guest room and this is what I saw under the bed out of the corner of my eye. 

If that wasn't enough to startle me, when he finally completed the get-up he sat them in my family room. I admit I jumped every time I turned the corner.

While Tim was creating the coaster cars I was painting this 8'x8' background on my dining room floor…..

and packing up gift boxes at the dining table.

All for this thrilling moment!

All our hard work paid off, and everyone got into character for their photos. The night before the photo booth was revealed we watched some hilarious videos of couples reactions on roller coaster rides. One guy passed out, another lady screamed OH MY about a hundred times and another lady swore she would never forgive her husband. The next day the couples got into character; some guys faked passing out, a gal mimicked the wife who held onto her husband's hair.  

You should have seen the back seat of our car as we transported these legs up to Newport Beach and back for the retreat. If we had been pulled over we would've had a lot of Splainin To Do!  Can't say we don't know how to celebrate and laugh at the ups and downs of marriage. 


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